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Family Planning

What should I ask my health care provider about having a baby?

Family Planning

You might ask your health care provider some of these questions:

  • When do I wish to conceive a baby?
  • Is my viral load undetectable?
  • If I become pregnant, will HIV cause problems for me during pregnancy or delivery?
  • What’s the safest way to conceive?
  • How do I avoid transmitting HIV to my partner, surrogate, or baby during conception, pregnancy, and delivery?
  • Will my baby have HIV?
  • If my partner is on PrEP, will we have a lower chance of transmitting HIV to our baby?
  • Will my HIV treatment cause problems for my baby?
  • If I become pregnant, what medical and community programs and support groups can help me and my baby?
  • If I don’t want to become pregnant, what birth control methods are best for me?

Answers to these questions can help you make the best-informed family planning decisions possible.

Adopting a baby is also an option for people with HIV who want to begin or expand their families. The American with Disabilities Act does not allow adoption agencies to discriminate against individuals or couples with HIV.

As a woman with HIV, what if I become pregnant unexpectedly?

If you have HIV and become pregnant, talk to your health care provider right away about medical care for you and your baby.

If you were being treated for HIV before you became pregnant, your HIV treatment will not change very much from what it was before you became pregnant. You should have a pelvic examination and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during your pregnancy. Your health care provider will order tests and suggest medicines for you to take. Talk with your health care provider about all the pros and cons of taking medicine while you are pregnant.

As a woman with HIV, how can I reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to my baby?

If you have HIV, take medicine to treat HIV (ART) as prescribed. If you take HIV medicine daily as prescribed throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and give HIV medicine to your baby for 4-6 weeks after delivery, your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby can be 1% or less. After delivery, you can prevent transmitting HIV to your baby by avoiding breastfeeding, since breast milk contains HIV.

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